January 5, 2017

Republicans have a real problem with their hurry to repeal the Affordable Care Act, because they can't even figure out how to tackle it on their own side.

Senator Tom Cotton (who has aspirations for 2020, I'm sure), just moments ago told Chuck Todd that he did not want to vote for a repeal with no replacement plan in place.

"I think when we repeal Obamacare we need the solution in place moving forward," Cotton told Chuck Todd. "Again, the solution may be implemented in a deliberate fashion but I don't think we can repeal Obamacare and say we'll get the answer two years from now."

"Look, this is a very complicated problem. Health care is a complex issue," he continued. "We haven't coalesced around a solution for six years in part because it is so complicated."

Well, duh. Ask the Democrats about that complexity, why don't you, Senator Cotton?

"Kicking the can down the road for a year or two years isn't going to make it any easier to solve," he concluded.

So why is this important? Because it's exposing a great yawning gap in the Republican party right now. Those folks in a hurry to repeal the ACA are not in any hurry to replace it. But Senators like Cotton who have constituents directly benefiting from the ACA will be hard-pressed to explain why they ripped healthcare away from millions with no plan to replace it.

It's a problem. It was great rhetoric, but now that they actually have the means to do what they said they'd do, they can't agree on a method to do it without having the deaths of thousands of Americans on their heads.

Even the hardcore Freedom Caucus representatives are choking a bit.

Meadows says a quick replacement bill is necessary so that insured people aren’t left in a “vacuum” upon repeal.

“It’s not just policy. It’s people’s lives,” he said. “Both Democrats and Republicans get that. It’s important that as Republicans, when we look at dealing with that, that we understand the people part of it.”

My eyebrow raises at that, given the number of that group who literally cheered every time they've passed a repeal bill that Obama wouldn't sign. But okay.

So far, Tom Cotton, Rand Paul, Susan Collins and Lamar Alexander are objecting to a repeal without a replacement at the same time. Will it be enough to delay the Senate repeal vote?

We'll let you know.

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